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Cheating Signs: How to Tell If Your Partner Is Thinking About It

A guy ignoring the girl he's with--One of 13 cheating signs to look out for.

In many cases of infidelity, those who have been cheated on admit that they saw the signs, but ignored them or told themselves that they were being paranoid or insecure. While many things you notice your partner doing can be explained by reasons other than infidelity, we spoke to a few different relationship experts about the cheating signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

These are the 13 cheating signs that may indicate someone is cheating, or perhaps just thinking about it:

1. They’re extra-protective of their phone.
(And their computer, social media, etc.). It’s not unusual for a person to be glued to their phone. “However, if all of a sudden your partner starts guarding it, (e.g. hides it and becomes visibly nervous when you touch or get near it) it’s likely there’s something they don’t want you to see,” says Jonathan Bennett, a dating coach and co-author of Eleven Dating Mistakes Women Make (And How To Correct Them).

2. They withdraw their attention.
If it feels like your partner isn’t as attentive, they could be giving that attention to someone else. For example, Bennett says, “If you used to get a lot of text messages throughout the day, then suddenly get only a couple [a week] with no explanation, someone else might be getting that attention.”

3. They go out with their single or divorced friends more.
You were the only one they wanted to be with, but now your partner is spending a lot more time with their single friends. “If they go out more often, are gone for long periods of time, and it seems like they’re reliving their twenties, this could indicate that they’re dissatisfied with some aspect of their home life,” says Jenna James, author of Bait Him Back and Bait Her Back.

4. There is a physical or emotional disconnect.
If your partner seems distant and unwilling to share about basic things like how their day went, when not too long ago they did, this is a red flag. “There’s less touching, talking, and it may even feel like you’ve gone from soul mates, to roommates,” says Danine Manette, an infidelity expert and author of Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering and Dealing with Infidelity.

5. There are changes in their routine.
As your partner becomes less interested in being at home and more interested in being with their new crush, they often begins leaving earlier, staying later, taking longer, or going more often to places without you. “Generally, more time begins being spent away from you and away from home,” says Manette.

6. Your sex life has changed.
This can be tricky because a decrease in intimacy could indicate they’re getting it somewhere else. “Though for a woman, not wanting sex can be caused by many things that are completely innocent,” says James. There could also be an increase in sexual activity as your partner is more turned on, thinking about that other person as well.

7. It takes longer for them to return calls and texts.
Before, your partner would promptly call or text you back and now, sometimes they don’t get back to you at all. This is another example of how you are no longer the main focus in their life, and there is something or someone who is.

8. Changes in attitude toward you.
If the person you’re with tends to criticize you in areas that were fine before (your weight, appearance, housekeeping skills, etc.) it could point to a problem. “This is because he/she is typically comparing you to the new potential love interest,” says Manette. Conversely, they may begin being overly attentive or give you more gifts and compliments because they’re feeling guilty about what they’re considering doing.

9. They don’t make eye contact with you.
As kids, we’re taught that looking someone in the eyes means you’re telling the truth. So pay attention to where your partner is looking. “Their guilt over what they’re planning to do makes it difficult for them to look you in the eye when the two of you talk,” says Ruth Houston, an infidelity expert and author of Is He Cheating on You?

10. They never get mad anymore.
One of the surest signs that your partner has checked out on the relationship and no longer wants to emotionally invest in it is that they don’t get angry anymore, says James. “If they suddenly take every setback in stride, it may mean he/she is devoting their emotions to someone else.”

11. They adamantly proclaim, “I’ll never cheat on you”.
If your partner continuously states that they’ll never cheat on you, watch out. “The objective here is convince you that they’re loyal, trustworthy, and monogamous, so that when you think you see signs of cheating behavior, you are conditioned to dismiss them,” says Donna Andersen, author of Red Flags of Love Fraud- 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.

12. There is an increased interest in your schedule.
If they want to know where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, when you’re coming back, etc. it could be a cheating sign. This increased interest is often misinterpreted as jealousy, or greater concern for you, when actually it’s just the opposite, says Houston. “They’re trying to figure out when, where and how they can see their intended affair partner without getting caught.”

13. A change in their tone/language.
Your interactions with your partner went from romantic and flirty to cold and casual. “Maybe you used to get called babe or honey and now you get addressed more like a friend. That’s a red flag that your partner’s romantic interest is shifting elsewhere,” says Bennett.

14. You have a gut feeling.
You know your partner better than anyone else so you’ll be the first to notice questionable changes in behavior, schedule, and the way they interact with you in general. “Most people report that in retrospect they saw the signs but either ignored them or explained them away.  Typically, however, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” says Manette.

Remember, all of the cheating signs above could also happen for other reasons, but if you’re getting that gut feeling and find that your partner is exhibiting a lot of these behaviors, it may be time to keep an eye out.

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